Partners in Every Way - Chapter One

Author: Milady Dragon

Disclaimer: I don't own it, sorry.

Author's note: Here we go, the first story in Dragon-Verse: Series Two! This is, of course, based on the episode "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang" and will guest star the irrepressible John Hart. This takes place directly after the story, A Time of Rest.

Hope you enjoy!

14 June 2008

"Hey kids," Jack asked, grinning, "did you miss us?"

It had, in retrospect, been a silly question, but then Jack really did love an entrance.

"Were you gone?" Owen snarked, rolling his eyes and going back to looking after the gunshot victim. Knowing the medic the way he did, Jack didn't take offense at all. It was the way Owen showed he cared.

Gwen didn't look at all impressed; in fact, she looked furious as she tried to calm the woman she'd been protecting. Jack thought he knew her well enough that he was fully expecting to get an earful at some point, probably sooner rather than later.

Toshiko though favoured him with a welcoming smile, and gave him and then Ianto a brief hug before going back to starting clean-up.

He felt Ianto's hand on his shoulder. "You can't win them all," the dragon's voice breathed a teasing burst of air against his ear.

Jack couldn't help by shiver a little. "But I have to keep trying."

"You wouldn't be you if you didn't," Ianto said playfully.

The unmistakable sound of the police arriving brought a sigh to Jack's lips. "You mind talking to the local coppers? I hear the dulcet tones of the pandas coming closer even as we flirt with each other."

Ianto smirked. "Of course, Sir."

"You know what that does to me!" Jack called out to the dragon's retreating back.

A single shimmy of the hips was Ianto's response.

It was now time for the Captain to come out and play. Jack found he'd missed it.

He knelt down next to Owen, watching as he worked over the male victim. There was too much blood, and Jack was worried that they might have to cover up yet another death, and on his first night back, too. "He going to be okay?" he asked Owen concernedly.

"Think so, although he'd gonna be laid up for a while. He's lost a lot of blood."

Jack was relieved. "Ianto will send the EMT's in as soon as they arrive." He stood, and watched Gwen with the mother and daughter, showing that compassion that Jack had known she'd have…and yet didn't seem to show around her colleagues. It was really sad that Gwen could project caring toward complete strangers, and yet so disregard her own teammates. Unless something had changed over the linear months that he'd been gone…but then, Jack was certain Ianto would have mentioned it.

Seeing that Gwen appeared to have that all under control he went to help Toshiko with the corpse. "It's good to have you both back," she murmured, as she scanned the corpse with her PDA.

"You know," he admitted, "it's really good to be back. Our family is back together again."

Toshiko smiled, and looked as if she was going to say something, when her scanner began to beep. She frowned. "There's something giving off an energy reading in his right trouser pocket."

Jack used the pair of gloves that she produced from her jacket to root around inside the Blowfish's trousers…which was not at all as sexy as it seemed. His hand clutched what felt like metal, and he pulled whatever it was out, revealing a dull metal pyramid. "Getting anything from it?" he asked.

"No, it's shielded. Just the energy that gave it away."

He touched the comm. in his ear. "Ianto, can you bring in a containment box? And a body bag while you're at it."

"I'm on it," the dragon answered.

"We'll get this back and study it later," Jack went on, toggling off the comm.

'You have any ideas?" Toshiko asked, continuing her scan.

"No, afraid not. It could be anything."

"Lovely. Not only was this fish high, it could have been carrying around something potentially dangerous."

Ianto brought in the requested box and bag, and Jack locked the pyramid-shaped device inside. Ianto carried it back out to the SUV, while the captain and Toshiko wrestled the Blowfish into the body bag, zipping it up just as the EMT's arrived to take over for Owen.

The team worked well together, and Jack felt a rush of pride at them all. It obviously hadn't taken Toshiko and Owen long to reintegrate into what passed for normal within Torchwood, and they'd managed to fall back onto their usual routines even after the year they'd all just suffered through. Jack hoped that he and Ianto would do as well, although he was pretty certain they would.

It took about two hours to get the scene cleared, the witnesses Retconned, the father to the hospital, and the house looking as if a drug-addled kid had broken in, looking for money to pay for his next fix.

It wasn't too far from the truth, considering the Blowfish had been on cocaine. Jack never could quite understand the need to go to a primitive planet and try every recreational drug under the rainbow. He wondered if he'd ever been that young and stupid…and realized that yes, he had been.

He'd grown up. He wondered exactly when that had happened.

Together, he and Ianto got the Blowfish into the back of the SUV, and they followed it in Ianto's car back to the Hub. Jack hadn't known just how much he'd missed the place until they were pulling into the car park. "It's really like coming back to where we belong," he murmured, as Ianto pulled into his customary spot.

"I felt like that when I came back from my leave after Lisa," Ianto admitted, turning in his seat. "Ddraig Llyn might be home to us, but this…this is where our family is."

Jack met his mate's gaze. He'd seen those eyes look as if they were as ancient as the world, and at other times twinkling like the twenty-six year-old that his human body resembled. He'd seen them in their human aspect, as they were now, and in the cat-slitted form belonging to his true form. But there, in that car, what he saw made him lose himself in such a tangle of emotion that he couldn't pull any of them apart to examine them.

He saw eternity in those blue eyes.

Jack couldn't help it. He looped his hand around the back of Ianto's neck and pulled him forward, pressing his lips against his mate's, losing himself in the intimacy of the moment.

The kiss didn't last long, because they were interrupted by a sharp rapping against the passenger side window. Jack pulled away reluctantly, turning to glare at Owen, who was making exaggerated gagging expressions at them.

"This corpse isn't gonna get to the autopsy bay by itself," Owen said through the glass. "And you both don't need to flaunt the fact that you're both loved up. Now, get your arses out here and give us a hand." With that, he walked back to the SUV, standing next to the open boot.

Jack sighed. "Why do I suddenly feel like a parent who just got told off by their son?"

"As long as you're the mother," Ianto teased.

"Haven't we had this conversation before?" Jack groused, opening his door.

"We have. And I seem to recall we also came to the conclusion that Owen is very much your son."

Jack laughed. "Just don't tell Alice, all right? She might disinherit us both for bringing such a brother into the world."

The dragon simply rolled his eyes, and got out of the car.

"Let's get things taken care of," Jack said, climbing from the vehicle and addressing his waiting team. "Then let's call it a night. We can handle debriefings and paperwork later."

"Sounds like a plan," Owen agreed. "I don't think fishface here will go off before I get a chance to go sushi chef on him."

Gwen made a face. "That's disgusting."

"That's our Owen," Ianto said, joining the medic at the rear of the SUV. "Let's get our newest 'guest' into the freezer so we can all head home."

Jack followed the pair as they manhandled the body into the Hub, and down to the autopsy bay. He split off and went into his office, grinning as he saw that nothing had changed in the time he'd been gone. Everything was just as he remembered it, and he silently thanked Ianto for leaving things as they'd been.

He moved around the desk, sinking into the chair. Jack couldn't help but smile as he ran his hands along the chair's arms, feeling the worn leather under his fingers. So much had occurred since the last time he'd sat there, and yet it was as familiar as if it had been yesterday.

Jack looked out over the Hub. Toshiko was at her station, entering something into her terminals, the containment box that held the metal pyramid on the desk at her right hand. He couldn't see Owen or Ianto; most likely they were still in the autopsy bay, putting the Blowfish to bed for the night. He couldn't see Gwen either, and he hoped she was already gone.

Leaning back in his chair, Jack sighed, letting his eyes raise to the ceiling. That was also familiar, the bedrock that the Hub had been carved from, stained with age and damp. He'd have to go down into his bunker at some point, just to check it out, but he lived more at Ianto's anymore than the Hub. They'd even talked about him moving in full-time, back during their week off, and Jack had to admit he wasn't at all adverse to the idea. Being with his dragon every day was what Jack wanted more than anything.


He came out of his thoughts. Sitting upright, Jack smiled slightly at Gwen, who was standing just inside the door. "Hello Gwen," he greeted her. "I thought maybe you'd gone home."

"Not yet." She stepped further into the office.

Jack could tell by her expression that something was on her mind. He really didn't want to talk to her, but it would be best to get whatever she wanted to say out in the open.

However, that didn't stop him from trying to derail her a bit.

"Ianto tells me that Rhys asked you to marry him," he said. "Congratulations."

Gwen looked surprised at the comment. "Yes, he did."

"Did he get down on one knee?" Jack asked.

"He tried to," she answered, smiling slightly, "but then he got a twinge in his back and had to lie on the settee. That's when he popped the question."

"And you said yes," he grinned. "That's fantastic."

"Well, no one else will have me."

Jack barely hid his flinch. When Ianto had told him that Gwen seemed to have settled down and had gotten engaged, he'd been genuinely happy for her. He'd thought that Gwen had finally made her choice, and had realized that she'd loved Rhys as much as he obviously loved her.

This wasn't the response he'd been expecting.

"So you don't love him?" he demanded.

Her eyes widened. "I didn't say that!"

"You intimated it. Gwen, if you don't love Rhys, then you shouldn't have said yes to him." There might have been a time when getting into a relationship with someone would have been a cavalier act for him, but not anymore, especially not after the words he and Ianto had shared on the Valiant. And marriage was something else entirely; it might have been slightly different when he came from, but the very act of commitment was respected and never entered into lightly. "However," he went on, "that's none of my business. I just hope you and Rhys will be very happy."

"Thank you," she said, not happy at all. "I'm sure we will be." Gwen moved up to the desk, resting her fists against the surface, leaning over him. Jack wondered if she knew that her breasts were on full display, or if she thought she was being intimidating. "Right now, we have other things to discuss."

"Do we really, Gwen?" He leaned back, his demeanour calm.

He and Ianto had known there would be a confrontation. Gwen was the only one who didn't know what had happened, how they'd survived a year that never happened. She didn't have the background that the others did. All she knew was that Jack had gone, and the captain knew this was what she would be furious about.

"You left us, Jack," she accused. "We knew nothing!"

Jack frowned. "You might not have known anything, but Ianto was very aware of where I'd gone."

"But you didn't tell the rest of us!"

"Wrong, Gwen. I did. I explained to each of you that I was waiting for my Doctor. That I needed answers as to why I couldn't die. It's not my fault you apparently disregarded that." He really didn't want to be angry with her, since she was speaking out of ignorance, but he couldn't help it. "I spent over one hundred years on this planet, doing Torchwood's dirty work. If anyone deserves any sort of peace, it's me."

"So you were being selfish!"

"Yes, I was." Jack glared at her. "I was being selfish. I needed to know why I'm the way I am. But I did consider what I was doing, and it was Ianto who helped me decide to go, because he knew it would eat away at me if I let the opportunity pass."

"He had no right to encourage you leaving. We needed you here."

"From what I've been told, yes…you did need me. But you also did just fine on your own. Ianto was a very capable leader and he got you all through everything that happened while I was gone…just as I knew he would." He stared her down. "I've built this team with the exact knowledge that, one day, the Doctor would come, and that I would be gone. You are all quite capable, and I had no doubts that you would all do an exemplary job while I was away."

Gwen scoffed. She straightened, crossing her arms over her chest. "Right…and when you were off gallivanting with your Doctor, did you even consider what was going on here? What your so-called Second was up to?"

Jack frowned. "What do you mean by that?"

"With all that nonsense about Great Dragons and Friends and all that! He's practically brainwashed poor Tosh, and Owen's no better! He's got them believing that there's some sort of mystical creatures out there, and that they have insight into the future! And he followed their so-called advice to London, and nothing happened!"

"Were you in London?" the Captain demanded, rising. Now he was truly angry; he really wanted to cut her some slack, but not when she was questioning the word of his mate and of the Great Dragons. "Do you have any clue as to what went on there?"

"Of course I do! I've seen the reports. There was no alien invasion, only Saxon going nuts and killing the American President, and then being killed in turn. Nothing happened, Jack. There was nothing!"

Jack found himself grinding his teeth. She didn't know, she only heard the cover that UNIT put out… "Then you don't know the full story, and I won't hear you questioning Ianto or the Great Dragons ever again. There are more things out there in the Universe than you could ever imagine, and if you don't open your mind to new possibilities you won't last. Now, I suggest you gather your things and head home to Rhys. And at least try to remember exactly why you're marrying him."

Gwen opened her mouth to say something else, and Jack was never more grateful to hear the Rift alert go off. He darted past her, and toward Tosh's station. "What have we got?" he asked, putting a hand on her back.

So much for getting any rest tonight.